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Tuesday, Jun 10, 2003

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AP CM reiterates commitment to reforms agenda

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DESCRIBING reforms as inevitable, the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, reiterated his commitment to the reforms agenda and maintained that there was no deviation from the set strategy and objectives to ensure all-round development of the State.

However, in view of the severe drought conditions impacting the State and the drop in the overall Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP), the State Government has re-prioritised the existing welfare programme with a focus on development and to fine tune the ongoing reform process, Mr Naidu said addressing district collectors at the two-day Collectors Conference here today.

The role of collectors has undergone changes over the years and in the Government's endeavour to help the poor and needy. Mr Naidu said, their roles had changed significantly over the years. From being regulators, they have now turned to be facilitators.

And in reaching out specific programmes, while the Government and the leadership will continue to provide the necessary leadership to ensure that welfare measures are tailored to suit the needy, the district collectors will have to play a crucial role in their success.

Reforms have become integral part of the system all over the world and that there is no difference of opinion about that. The issue is how to address them.

Drawing a parallel from the successful Chinese model, Mr Naidu said globally it was accepted that there was no other way out but to address changes to streamline functioning of institutions. Depending on priorities, Governments address this reform process.

As and when necessary, corrections are incorporated to ensure that these reforms are with a human face.

Having recently announced a host of welfare measures that are aimed at covering about one lakh beneficiaries, particularly weaker sections and vulnerable in the society, Mr Naidu said this move did not mean the end of reforms as made out by a section of critics.

The endeavour is to balance the reform process with a human face to address people's concerns. This is one reason a package of about Rs 600 crore was announced to support the farm sector.

The State was witness to one of the worst droughts with over 1125 mandals declared as drought-hit. With a rainfall deficit of about 32 per cent, and parched tracts, this lead to drop in overall food grain production and also less area under cultivation. This, in turn, has pulled down the overall GSDP. Therefore, it was felt necessary to energise the farm sector and empower all the stakeholders in the agriculture value chain, Mr Naidu said.

Citing the success stories in various sectors in the State including the power sector, education, literacy, health care system, Mr Naidu said it was high time some of the success stories were critically analysed and these models replicated to broaden their impact across the State in areas that need special attention.

Giving details of how various districts in the State had performed, he wanted the district collectors to take three districts each that have performed extremely well and three in the lowest rung of the monitoring system. These will serve as test cases and enable others to emulate successful stories.

Highlighting some of the main areas of thrust for Government, Mr Naidu said the Government was keen to ensure that no one in the State was without a land to construct a house of his own.

Therefore, Mr Naidu said we have devised a scheme wherein 10 lakh house-sites would be distributed to landless and the needy to enable them to have a house of their own.

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